James Munro, Team Leader of the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team, said:
“We welcome The Property Ombudsman’s update to its Code of Practice, which will require members to comply with new guidance around how agents use online property search websites. The change in guidelines means its members – which includes the vast majority of practicing estate agents – will be obliged to comply with the new rules.
“The practice of ‘portal juggling’ has seen some agents deliberately mislead potential homebuyers by removing and relisting properties to make them appear new on the market or using the practice to manipulate sales figures. Breaches of the new guidance could lead to a ruling by the Ombudsman and also referrals to enforcement agencies – including the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team and local trading standards authorities. Such referrals could lead to prohibition orders or prosecution.
“We will continue to work closely with industry bodies – including The Property Ombudsman and other redress schemes – to stop this unfair and misleading practice, which misleads prospective homebuyers and harms honest estate agents who conduct their business in a fair and professional manner. If you suspect an estate agent of portal juggling or spot anything suspicious on a major online portal, we urge you to report it to Citizens Advice on 03454 040506.”
Notes to Editors
For more information please contact the National Trading Standards team on 020 7025 7570 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors
National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team
- The National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team leads investigations across the UK, provides advice and guidance and builds expertise in the application and interpretation of estate agency legislation with a view to sharing this with colleagues across the enforcement community.
- More information about the The National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team and advice for estate agents can be found here: www.powys.gov.uk/estateagency
National Trading Standards
- National Trading Standards is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. National Trading Standards set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards.
- National Trading Standards provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally.
More information on National Trading Standards is available here: http://www.nationaltradingstandards.uk